Botanical Name: Sanguinaria canadensis
Other Common Names: Red Puccoon
Brief Description and Notes: This is a delicate, native, low-growing spring ephemeral. A single flower, white and with 8-10 petals, and large lobed leaf arise from each stalk. The flower closes at night and opens in the sun. Can be pollinated by bees or self-pollinate.
Where To Look For It: Rich and shady deciduous woodlands
Ornamental Value: Beautiful white blooms in shady areas of a woodland garden; spring ephemeral; groundcover
Ecological Value & Roles: Requires ants to disperse seeds; listed as “vulnerable” or “at-risk” in several states due to habitat loss/competitive non-native species and over-harvesting by humans.
Edibility and Other Human Use: The root is poisonous, but in small amounts has been used medicinally for respiratory issues, fever, and skin disease. Red dye and perhaps insect repellant can be obtained from the sap as well. Since it is often a vulnerable plant, best not to harvest this one in the wild unless you have found a sea of it. Better yet, plant it in your native woodland garden!